Only the fourth UK site to transfer to the system, which all European airports must adhere to by December 2017, Norwich is among a small group of pioneering aviation hubs setting the pace for the industry.
Richard Pace, operations director at Norwich International Airport, explains: “Norwich has always worked hard at being one of the country’s most progressive airports, which is why we agreed early this year to become part of a pilot initiative mapping the approach required to transition to the new European wide system.
“While our existing procedures and approach to safety made the process relatively straightforward, taking the initiative not only kept us ahead of the game, but will also enable airports around the UK to learn from our experience and best practice.”
EASA is the centrepiece of the European Union’s aviation safety system, working alongside the European Commission and the National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) to improve standards.
The agency develops common safety and environmental rules, monitors the implementation of standards through inspections and provides necessary technical expertise and training to support the system.
All UK aerodromes open to public use and which serve commercial air transport and where operations using instrument approach or departure procedures are provided fall within the scope of the EASA regulations, which came into force on March 6, 2014.
Norwich participated in a pilot scheme designed to identify best practice for UK airports transferring to the scheme early this year, then became one of the first to formally make the switch a few weeks ago.
Pace adds: “I felt it was important for us to play a key role in the process. Despite their importance to local communities and economies regional airports are often drowned out by the noise generated by larger sites, and we wanted to ensure that our voice would be heard.”
Norwich owner Regional & City Airports (RCA) - the airports division of Rigby Group PLC - believes the announcement will also deliver benefits for its operations at Coventry and Exeter.